103 and 101 year-old sisters share special bond

Centenarian sisters share a century-long bond

Centenarian sisters share a century-long bond

CLIFTON SPRINGS, N.Y. — A lot of sisters have a special bond — but a pair of ladies from Clifton Springs have had that bond for more than a century. 

Minnie Howard and Dolly DeStefano are the youngest of five children born to Beulah and Frank Kratsley.  The women are now 103 and 101, respectively. They’ve lived in the Rochester region their entire lives. 

“I would bite her in the head when she acted up,” Minnie says playfully of her younger sister.

“That, or hit me or something like that, yea,” Dolly recalls. 

There wasn’t much money growing up, but there was a lot of love and lot of adventure. When the girls were 7 and 5, they were shot in the legs by a neighbor kid who got into their dad’s gun cabinet.

“He pulled them out and of course, being as young as he was, he couldn’t hang on to it, it was heavy for him so, fortunately I was sitting on the chair with my leg crossed and I got it, in the top of my leg,” explains Minnie, “and she (Dolly) was standing up opposite me and whatever angle it was, it went into the calf of her leg.”

The sisters remember the day vividly. “They called the doctor to come to the house and we were laid on the kitchen table to take care of the legs,” Minnie says. Needless to say, “the little kid never came around anymore,” she adds with a chuckle. 

While Minnie and Dolly have about 120 direct descendants — children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews — who keep them young, their constant has been one another. “She’s always been there for me and that’s it, she’s supposed to be … she’s my sister,” says Dolly. 

When it comes to loyalty between the two, look no further than a question to Dolly about Minnie’s secrets,

Dolly:  “I told her I wouldn’t tell, so I can’t tell and a promise is a promise.”

Minnie: “What is it that you want to tell and you can’t?”

Dolly: “I don’t know, something that you told me, I can’t remember it now! So, what’s the difference?!”

Clearly, the sisters still have their sense of humor, so what’s their key to longevity?

“I can’t believe we made it past 100, we were heathy, we really were. We ate healthy, we didn’t have a lot of this junk food they have now. Our treat was the penny candy,” says Minnie.

“Actually, the only time we even had tangerines was at Christmas,” recalls Dolly.  

They’re also spiritual and credit the Lord for watching over them and keeping them strong.   

Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC):  “All the things you must have seen in the last 100 years, the highs and lows of your own lives but also of humanity, wars and peace.” 

Dolly: “That’s just what I used to say to my mother. … I said, “Mother do you realize what you’ve seen in your lifetime” and I was amazed at it.

Jennifer Lewke:  “And now I say it to you … all the things you’ve seen in your lifetime.”

Dolly: “And I have to stop and think what it is.” (laughs)

Minnie: “If we can remember” (laughs)